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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

THE CHURCH OF S. IRENE
99
which runs round the interior of the building at gallery level.
The gallery over each aisle consists of two open portions under the dome arches, divided from each other by the dome piers, which are pierced to connect the different parts of the gallery with each other, and with the gallery over the narthex. In the side walls there is a range of windows at gallery level; five on each side of the eastern nave bay, three in the south wall of the western nave bay, but none, at present, in its northern wall. Above these windows are two ranges of windows in each lunette under the dome arches, a system of five and three in the eastern bay, and of four and two in the western bay. All these windows, now square-headed, had originally semicircular heads. The lunette filling the western dome arch had doubtless a similar window arrangement, though at present it has only one window.
The eastern ends of the side galleries have been formed into separate chambers since the Turkish occupation. Of the additions beyond the original east wall of the church, that to the north was connected with the gallery by a tall wide arch, while that to the south was divided off from the gallery with only a small door as a means of communication. The southern addition was divided into two chambers as on the ground floor.
The walls above gallery level and the large vaulting surfaces of the building are now covered with plaster, but a close examination proves that if any mosaic or marble revetment ever existed above gallery level, none of it, excepting the mosaic in the apse, remains.
Looking next at the exterior of the building, it is to be observed that the ground on the north, south, and east has been raised as much as fifteen feet. In many places the walls have undergone Turkish repair. The apse shows three sides. The drum of the dome is pierced by twenty semicircular-headed windows (of which only five are now open), and as their arches and the dome spring at about the same level the heads of the windows impinge upon the dome's surface. Two low shoulders cover the eastern